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NSW Eating at Restaurant - Don't Pay for Food Not as Described?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Pyroflamer, 28 August 2014.

  1. Pyroflamer

    Pyroflamer Active Member

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    Hi everyone, I have a curious question: how do you conceptualise the process of ordering food at a restaurant in terms of contract?

    Hypothetically, if you ordered food from a restaurant but the food you received was different from what was advertised on the menu (not completely, but to a certain extent), can you refuse to pay by virtue of a breach of intermediate term?

    And if you can refuse to pay under Australian Consumer Law, can you still eat the food nonetheless because at the point of termination of the "contract". Future obligations are released and each parties obligations are frozen.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but this is my idea:
    This is a unilateral contract where:
    Offer is made when you order food,
    Acceptance and consideration when waiter delivers food to your table,
    If the food fails to be exactly as described, it could be an intermediate term (Hong Kong Fir Shipping), which gives rise to damages and perhaps to terminate.
    If terminated, can you refuse to pay but also eat the food?
     
  2. Michael T

    Michael T Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Pyroflamer
    Is this a homework question, or an actual real world problem?
     
    Tim W likes this.
  3. Pyroflamer

    Pyroflamer Active Member

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    Hi @Michael T,

    This is an actual world problem. I was recently at a restaurant where the type of noodles they served me was completely different from that shown on the menu (colour, thickness, type) and that just piqued my interest whether in a more serious case the customer can avoid paying and still eat the food. Also contracts law is an area of great interest to me due to its pervasiveness in our every life. I assure you it is not for homework and I would much appreciate it if you could shed some knowledge!
     
  4. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Loosely, you walk in and check out the menu (invitation to treat, looking at the offers), you order (that is accepting), performance and payment can come a bit later

    You can always eat somewhere else next time or maybe leave a review. You won't make many friends if you eat the food, refuse to pay and then talk with an air of authority about Hadley v Baxendale. You know all those lawyer jokes, this is why they're generally unkind!
     
    John R likes this.
  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Imagine eating the food can be interpreted as acceptance, despite your early denial.

    There is also more law than just contract law involved if you decide to eat the goods provided.
     
    John R likes this.
  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    I agree with Hugh above.

    I suggest that the contract is performed once the food is on the table.

    At that point, if all is not as it should be (it's cold, it's off, it's the wrong kind of noodle, etc)
    then don't over-intellectualise about contract law.
    Rather, start thinking about dealing with any problems under the Australian Consumer Law.
     
  7. Pyroflamer

    Pyroflamer Active Member

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    Ah yes, I completely forgot about ACL because I was so tunnel visioned on the traditional contract model. Thanks for pointing that out everyone.

    I just wanted to feel empowered as a consumer next time I walk in!
     

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